Betrayed By A Friend
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall
John 13:24 (Holman) Simon Peter motioned to him to find out who it was He was talking about.
Industrious Peter thought of a way to discover the betrayer=s identity. Have John find out. Peter wanted to know in order to stop the traitor=s efforts.
Had the Eleven known who the betrayer was, Judas may have never left the room alive. Peter himself might have killed the traitor rather than let the dreadful deed be done.
But intervention was not in God=s plan. It is good we do not know all about the betrayers among us. It should satisfy us to know Christ knows.
John 13:25-26a So he leaned back against Jesus and asked Him, ALord, who is it?@ Jesus replied, AHe=s the one I give the piece of bread to after I have dipped it.@
Shared bread was a token of friendship. The Lord continues to Ashare bread@ with traitors. Though unbelievers reject Jesus, He often shares with them the Abread@ of honors, pleasures, close-knit families, etc.
Jesus is kind to His enemies. The sun shines, and rain falls, on them. He treats His adversaries well. We must do the same.
John 13:26b When He had dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas, Simon Iscariot=s son.
Judas was the one. What a tragedy! Years earlier in Kerioth, the birth of a son brought joy, as evidenced by the name given the baby. Judas meant APraise.@ The parents could never have dreamed someday God=s Son would say of their child, AIt would have been good for that man if he had not been born.@
John 13:27a After Judas ate the piece of bread, Satan entered him.
In this moment, a soul committed spiritual suicide. Only Christ fully understood the tragedy unfolding before their eyes.
Judas shut his heart to Christ by opening it to the devil. When we let evil spirits enter our hearts, the good Spirit justly and quietly withdraws.
Jesus is a perfect gentleman, but, as Judas would soon learn, the devil is a tyrant. First he suggests, then he commands. He knocks at the door, requesting admittance; once inside he takes over and rules.
Satan still seeks those whom he may devour. Our only sure safety lies in resisting him at the first.
John 13:27b Therefore Jesus told him, AWhat you=re doing, do quickly.@
Jesus here voiced words of despairing love abandoning the conflict. Judas= evil nature had finally won. The last critical moment had come, but Judas was not yet won over. He thwarted all of Christ=s efforts to win him.
This must have been a sad defeat for Jesus. Admitting the loss, He told Judas to proceed. There was no need for delay. The die was cast.
Jesus spoke of the betrayal as if it were already done, though it was still only a plan in Judas= heart. Once a decision is made in the heart, God knows the deed is done.
The true actor in our actions is Athe hidden man of the heart.@ When a person has inwardly resolved with a fixed will to do something, it is done.
We are what we decide in our hearts. Hidden motives of desire and will are the true us. Guard them, and deeds will take care of themselves.
Jesus, knowing the betrayal was decided, commanded its quick completion. Suddenly the Victim was commanding the traitor. This must have shocked Judas. He had probably felt he was the master in this whole scenario, but Jesus remained in complete control.
Jesus wanted the conflict resolved quickly. The painful tension of dread need not be extended any longer. The suspense of waiting can be as difficult as the suffering. It is often easier to suffer than to wait for suffering.
Soldiers dislike the delay before a battle as badly as the battle itself. Many martyrs have prayed for a swift end of their troubles, desiring for the end to come in one huge flood, rather than trickle drop by drop.
Christ suffered as no other person has suffered. Most of people=s sorrows are unforeseen. But Jesus foresaw His sorrows for ages, knew them to be unavoidable, and yet never wavered in His resolve.
Having known for ages this was coming, it was now time. Jesus wanted the end to come quickly. Do it quickly, Judas. This will make it easier for you and Jesus both.
John 13:28-30 None of those reclining at the table knew why He told him this. Since Judas kept the money-bag, some thought that Jesus was telling him, ABuy what we need for the festival,@ or that he should give something to the poor. After receiving the piece of bread, he went out immediately. And it was night.
Once filled with Satan, Judas had to leave right away. He became so saturated with evil that he could no longer endure the holy presence of Jesus.
ANight@ was more than a time note here. It bespoke the midnight darkness flooding Judas= heart. It is always Anight@ when people turn their back on Jesus. The Passover moon would have made Israel=s night bright compared to the night in the traitor=s heart.
Over Judas swept a wave of outer darkness, rising like a cloud from the bottomless pit. The Anight@ forecast the outer darkness into which he soon plunged.
The devil=s servants earnestly serve him. Night usually is not a good time for handling business, but once possessed of Satan, darkness presents no difficulty. In fact, to the wicked it becomes an asset. They love darkness.
Night gives evil-doers the advantage of privacy and concealment. The fact the wicked prefer the hiddenness of darkness is in itself a confession there is shame in what they do.
The night into which Judas went foreshadowed the type of deed he was about to do. As the evening wore on, Judas entered an ever deepening night of shame. Even his remorse would not be of God, for it led to suicide, another crime.
After the Last Supper, Judas and Jesus met in the Garden. Within hours both were dead. They will meet again, when Judas stands at the Judgment. I sense a hush will fall on the crowd after a whisper sweeps through the throng, AIt is Judas B the traitor.@ It will be a solemn moment, and an enlightening one, revealing how poor a bargain Judas made.
Esau sold his birthright for pottage. German legend says the astrologer Faustus sold his soul to the devil for 24 years of earthly happiness.
What was Judas= bargaining price for Jesus? What was Christ=s life worth to the traitor? Thirty somethings. Surely he=ll ask for 30 armies, 30 gold mines, 30 years as a ruler. No! The price was 30 pieces of silver.
What would we sell Jesus for? What would it take to turn us against the Lord? A desire for money, pleasure, or sin? A fear of persecution or rejection?
John Bunyan suffered many afflictions because he loved Jesus. During one time of intense persecution, he said he was tempted to sell Christ in exchange for relief.
Bunyan said the Devil Awould intermix in such sort with all that I did, that I could not eat my food, nor stoop to pick up a pen, nor chop a stick, without hearing his whisper B Sell Christ B Sell Him for this B Sell Him for that. Sell Him! Sell Him!@
Bunyan stayed the course. Judas failed. May God grant us strength to imitate the former, not the latter.